MONTREAL | the counters of The nature parks of Montreal recorded an increase of 150% compared to last year since the beginning of the confinement, a trend that is observed everywhere across the country.
According to a national survey conducted by the organization Friends of the parks, 70% of Canadians have seen their interest in the parks will increase during the confinement.
“They almost all agreed to visit the parks more often during the containment and several times per week,” confirms Clémence Marcastel, national coordinator of communications for the organization.
Montrealers are representative of this phenomenon : the City confirms that the attendance of its nature parks has more than doubled for the period from April to July 2020, increasing to 150% compared to the previous year. The metropolis contains eight of these protected natural areas, including nature parks Cap-Saint-Jacques, Bois-de-l’île-Bizard or Pointe-aux-Prairies.
Despite this obvious interest for urban parks, 57% of canadian municipalities surveyed in the framework of the report on the urban parks in 2020 Friends of the parks are planning to decrease the budgets that are set aside because the economic situation affected by the COVID-19.
“It is ironic that it is found to have an increased demand on the part of citizens who want to go into the parks close to home and at the same time that municipalities are considering a decrease in the budget allocated to the parks,” acknowledges Ms. Marcastel.
The latter welcomes, however, the consultation initiated by the City of Montreal for the development of the budget 2021. This will be an opportunity for citizens to manifest their interest on the issue, she believes.
It is for the moment too early to know if the budgets allocated to the different nature parks or to the parks in the metropolitan area of Montreal will be modified. “On the side of the Service of the great parks, Mount Royal, and sports, as budgets for the year 2021 are in development, it is still too early to presume the outcome,” said the City via e-mail.
The local parks are smaller, are fully managed by the boroughs; it is, therefore, a case-by-case basis.
You can participate in the consultation budget of the City of Montreal in travelling to or from the www.realisonsmtl.ca.
A hidden gem in the Mile End
Several parks in montreal are well known to the residents of the metropolis, but some are little gems well hidden. This is particularly the case in the Field of the possible, in the Mile End.
It is located on a former industrial area of the rue de Gaspé, and is home to a green space known for its wild aspect and its biodiversity. It has been developed by a citizens ‘ initiative.
A discreet entrance near the former coworking space common Area that leads to trails, green-rimmed leaves, and flowers of varying heights that constitute the Field of the possible. Children played quietly among the grasses as tall as them and teased the bees, during our visit last week.
This wild aspect, which contrasts with the parks classic where the lawn is queen, is inscribed in the DNA of places, ” says one of the members of the organization of the Friends of the Field of the possible, Clement Badra. The grass there is not even shaved : only ragweed and invasive plants are removed.
The predominance of the biodiversity of this green space is linked to the interests of the first citizens to take an interest in this field abandoned industrial. “Initially, it was a biologist and an artist. The biologist, of course, his interest that was the subject of biodiversity. A city park in normal is not very rich in biodiversity,” says Mr Badra.
“The people who came together around the project when the committee of citizens was formed, had realized that it was something that they loved this wild character,” he continued.
The Field of the possible has not escaped the growing popularity of urban parks and green spaces during the pandemic. “We have noticed a larger use of the park. With the social distancing, the trails are a little expanded with trampling”, he says.
Mr. Badra has also argued that more acquisitions and business fires – a practice prohibited in Montreal and that he does not recommend that – takes place in the evening on the green space.
This last reminds us that a green area brings benefits to the well-being of the citizens of a district, but also to the environment. This place provides an oasis of freshness and helps to manage the rain water.
The parks in Montreal in a nutshell
- Total area of parks: 4 470 hectares
- % natural areas parks: 39%
- % of the area of the city occupied by parks: 12%
- Number of dog parks: 49
- Number of community gardens and urban farms: 97
*Data: Friends of the parks